Over the past few seasons, Evgeny Kuznetsov has asked Capitals coaching staffs if he could be a penalty killer. Kuzy has long been fascinated with the PK and has claimed the extra minutes would get him more into games. Peter Laviolette obliged this season and gave Kuzy another chance at it this year. So far the early returns say it’s working – at least offensively.
Saturday against the Flames, Kuznetsov scored his first shorthanded goal since March 26, 2018, a fantastic individual play that led a furious Capitals comeback in the second period.
The Capitals were down 3-0. Then Kuzy scored and the gates opened.
KUUUUUUUUZ! Got one back pic.twitter.com/vjqLS3AloD
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 23, 2021
A forechecking Kuznetsov forced a turnover by Johnny Gaudreau after he anticipated a D-to-D pass in the D-zone. The play sprung Kuzy on a breakaway which he just squeaked by Flames goaltender Dan Vladař.
The goal was Kuznetsov’s third career shorty. He also scored one his rookie season, which was his first career goal. It’s likely the first shorty he’s scored as a full-time penalty killer though.
“Why I want to play on the PK? That way you can be in the game every time,” Kuznetsov said in the past. “You don’t see [the ice] sometimes for five minutes or whatever. At the same time, PK, power play, you’re in the game. I need to be in the game.”
The shorthanded point is also Kuzy’s second of the season. He also got a primary assist on an Alex Ovechkin goal, where he found The Great 8 with a leading pass off the end boards.
Kuznetsov has been more active and aggressive defensively this season. Earlier in the game, he also picked off a telegraphed pass in the neutral zone.
Kuzy's interception wasn't the result of forecheck pressure but still a great read of a telegraphed pass in neutral pic.twitter.com/vvz30XaoRz
— Good Tweet Pete 🌮 (@peterhassett) October 23, 2021
The shorthanded goal gives Kuznetsov tallies in his last three games. He also has nine points (4g, 5a) in five games this season.
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